Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Hydrangeas and other garden related news

My beautiful blue hydrangea decided to go pink this year.

While I don't mind pink, I really prefer blue. So after much Googling, I discovered that applications of Aluminum Sulfate to the soil could turn it blue again, over a period of several months. The only place that sold the stuff locally was Agway, which only sold it in seven pound bags, which according to the application instructions should be enough Aluminum Sulfate to turn every hydrangea in my neighborhood blue until the end of time. Whoopee!
At least this one is blooming. My two other hydrangeas opted out of the blooming process entirely this year. I relocated one, thinking maybe it's in the wrong spot. The other one is a much bigger hydrangea, kind of like a little tree, that is on the side of the garden against the shed wall. Given the size of the branches (actually, kinda more like "trunks") on that thing, it's not going to be moving any time soon.
Come to think of it, I'm having the same problem with my Rose of Sharons - of the three, only the one in the middle is blooming (and spectacularly). However, the other two do have buds, so there is hope, as long as they realize that the first frost is not that far off.
While I was up at the cottage the last time, Alabama let me dig some tiger lilies (also known as ditch lilies) out of her yard - I got two great big clumps. I was surprised at how easily they came out of the ground - I went over there with everything short of a backhoe, and in the end, I think I could have pulled them out with my hands.
I also put in another oriental lily - I swore I was not going to buy any more perennials this year, but the oriental lily I put in last year is not doing so hot, so I got another one. I just love the way they smell - like bubble gum!
I started some morning glories in pots on the ground by the deck support posts earlier this year, and trained them to grow up the posts. Now they're all the way up onto my back porch on the second floor at eye level - that's quite a climb!
It's hard to believe that the gardening season is winding down, although it's been easier to believe the past few days, with the weather all cool and cloudy and rainy. Now is when I start seeing what I did wrong last year, and what needs to be divided/moved in the spring. Now is when I say, "Next year I'm going to do it better!". Yeah.


bridgett said...

I'm betting this is not a placement problem at all. You've got what are called "mophead" hydrangeas, which bloom off the cane wood. Don't be so tidy and remove all the "dead sticks" out of them in the springs. If you overprune in either fall or spring (hydrangeas set their bloom buds very before August up in NY), they won't bloom at all. It doesn't sound like yours are "remontant" (develop new buds for this season if you happen to mess up), so if I were you, I might just not fuss on them too much and see what happened.

You also might be fertilizing them with stuff that encourages foliage growth but doesn't support their blooms. (This was a mistake I made a couple of years ago when I went all crazy on some Miracle-Gro stuff. Lush green leaves, but no flowers at all.)

No ideas about the Rose of Sharon. Are they all three the same variety?

Rockycat said...

Thanks for the info, Bridgett. Actually, I have avoided pruning the hydrangeas at all, over confusion about the whole "setting their buds on last year's wood" thing. Maybe the fertilizer's the problem .... although I usually only remember to fertilize a couple of times a year, because I am lazy.

As far as the Rose of Sharons, I think they're all the same variety; at least they all look the same ..... gosh, I've got a lot to learn, don't I?!

Kerri said...

Those tiger lilies will spread and spread and spread....

Anonymous said...

Everyone knows SO much more about gardening than I do! I look at our garden and think I have to move a whole bunch of plants.

I seem to have made a very busy bit and an empty bit. Never mind, next year I WILL do better!